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Annuities: Did My Annuity Agent Rip Me Off?

Aug 1, 2008
Did you get ripped off when you bought your annuity? Maybe.

I often get called from people who own annuities and the first question they ask goes something like this: 'I own a (insert annuity name here). Did I get ripped off? It's not an easy question to answer but let's take a look at that.

Lets assume being ripped off means one of three things:

1) That you didn't exactly get what you paid for (i.e. invested in).

2) You got something completely different than what you paid for.

3) You got something you weren't expecting.

The bottom line is that, many people who buy annuities fall into one of these categories. You might think that's a bold statement but it certainly is not untrue. I know. I have interviewed a substantial amount of annuity owners and many (if not most) do not know what they own.

Does this mean they got ripped off? Well, maybe and maybe not. Let's take a look. An insurance agent has a duty and responsibility to inform the consumer of all the details of the product they are purchasing. Do they do that? Not usually. Sometimes the omission is important and other times it is not. However, if you have something that falls into one of the 3 categories above, then you may have been ripped off.

Where do the agent omissions come from? How can they fail to tell you everything? Well, omissions happen sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. So, in the agent's defense, sometimes, something is not mentioned because they feel it is not important OR because you didn't mention it was important. Does that make it right??? No. Other times, however, an omission happens due to the ignorance of the agent. This is definitely not excusable. Unfortunately, many annuity agents do not know exactly what they are selling.

Agents and insurance companies are to blame for this. Agents often take the insurance company's word for what a product is without doing their due diligence. Shame on them but often you pay for it.

Insurance companies often paint the sales story for the insurance agent so they can sell their products. Shame on them but you pay for it.

Don't get ripped off when it comes to your annuities. There are a few things you can do to avoid being ripped off:

1) Know what you want in an annuity

2) Know what features are important to you

3) Know what is important for your annuities not to have

4) Tell your agent EXACTLY what you want and don't want and document it for future purposes

4) Be well educated PRIOR to making a purchase

5) Assume you are going to be ripped off so you will act more carefully.

So, most importantly if you got something that falls in the three categories above, you may have been ripped off. If you feel like you have been cheated, there are appropriate measures you can take. If you are buying an annuity, there are things you can do to avoid being ripped off. I always say do your homework. Ignorance is not bliss.
About the Author
Avoid being ripped off when it comes to your annuities.

Tony Bahu is author of the controversial book, 'Annuities: The Shocking Truths Revealed.' More information about annuities can be found at AnnuityMD.com.
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